I was trying to write something else and this happened instead. Untitled, 2000 words, set shortly after Poe defects to the Resistance, a little while before the events of the film, well before the events of the story I’m working on. A discussion with a mechanic on the care and maintenance of astromech droids. I meant this to be cute, but, TW for mention of droid abuse.

“You know,” Goss Toowers said, leaning in the doorway, “our mechanics are equipped to work on astromechs too.”

Poe glanced up at the Shozer mechanic, caught flat-footed; he had BB-8’s sensor array all spread out on a dropcloth in front of him, and it was clear as anything he was doing his own maintenance work, and he hadn’t planned on rubbing it in anyone’s face exactly, but this was a little bit irregular.

Great start to working with the Resistance, champ, he told himself. Very diplomatic.

“I, ah,” he said. He set the multitool in his hand down carefully. He was a bit nervous as a mechanic, especially with sensitive stuff like this; he always had to lay it out carefully and then constantly re-check and keep everything in relative position so he remembered where it went to put it back together. “You know, you guys have enough to do, keeping up with all the dumb shit I do to the damn craft, I figured, I’d just do the shit I know how to do and not bother you unless it was really a problem.”

Shozer facial expressions were hard to read, since they were big reptilian things; Poe really hoped this guy wasn’t as disgruntled as he looked.

“Fair enough,” Goss said. “But we’ve all been wanting a look at that little astro of yours, he’s different.”

“BB-8 is one of a kind,” Poe said, and it was a defensive catchphrase. He had a reputation for spoiling his droid, for being inappropriately indulgent of the thing, but it was all a pretty calculated plan, which he camouflaged by being really flippant about it. “And um. My mom never let me have a pet so I’ve kind of. Done all the things you’re not supposed to do.”

Goss made an alarming noise, but it was pretty clearly a laugh. “Pilots always fuck up their astromechs,” he said, “we’re used to it. What’s yours do now?”

“Ehm,” Poe said. “Well, I mean. I’m just cleaning the sensor array, I think the weatherseal is starting to go. But you mean, specifically or in general, what’s BB-8’s deal?”

“Yeah,” Goss said, “both specifically and in general. There’s only ever two ways this goes– a pilot either treats their astromech super shitty and the thing gets a complex, or the pilot treats it way too nice and it gets a complex. So I’m figuring, since you’re in here doing this instead of hitting on girls or whatever it is that you hit on, because that’s what pilots do, you’re probably the second kind. So what kind of complex does BB-8 have?”

Poe laughed so hard he almost lost his place, and had to take a moment to re-count the lenses of the sensor array to make sure he had them in the right order. “Oh,” he said, “so you’ve worked with pilots before. Fleet pilots are the worst ones, don’t you think?”

“Depends what you mean by worst,” Goss said, hunkering down to look at the assembly. “Oh holy shit you upgraded the holocam in this thing, that’s like a protocol droid rig.”

“I did,” Poe said. “BB-8, um, really likes taking pictures.” And BB’s love of obsessively-documenting things had, in the past, been extremely useful to Poe, and that was not the sort of thing one mentioned when one was trying to come across stupider than one was. “Also I got a good deal on the parts, don’t get me wrong. I spoil the shit out of my droid but I’m not crazy.”

“So you have a lot of non-spec parts in there, is what I’m getting from this,” Goss said.

“Mm,” Poe said, and shot him a sidelong look, “yes.”

“I bet he’s got a lot of non-standard programming too,” Goss said.

“A little,” Poe said. “I’ve also– I’ve let the AI kind of, develop? I know most people’s policy is to prune that shit back every so often but I’ve found that if you let the quirks work themselves out, the thing winds up smarter? A little idiosyncrasy is kind of worth putting up with if it’s meanwhile developed the smarts to save your ass.”

“Idiosyncrasy,” Goss said, skeptical.

Poe blew dust off the lens assembly, gave it a final polish, and started reassembling it. “BB-8’s got some preferences,” he said, “and I’ve found that instead of trying to rewrite the subroutines that gave rise to them, if I just go with it, I tend to get a better end result? So like. Um.” He was always a little self-conscious about this, because some people got so worked-up over it, like it was a ridiculous request or something. “BB-8’s not a he, or a she, or an it, because a droid isn’t male or female or an object.”

“Oh,” Goss said, sounding interested. “Then what is– BB-8?” He didn’t use a pronoun, and that was hopeful.

“BB-8 likes it when you say ey instead of he or she,” Poe said. “And like. Em for him or her. Eir for his or hers. Emself, not him- or herself.”

“Ey,” Goss said. He squinted, or something like that. Poe had never known a Shozer closely before but he’d had conversations with them. “I think I knew someone who used those before. Well, I’ll try to remember. Does ey get mad if you forget?”

“No no no,” Poe said, immeasurably relieved, “ey’s usually delighted you bothered to try. BB’s spoiled a little, but that doesn’t mean ey’s a total asshole.” He considered that a moment. “Well. I mean. Ey is a total asshole, but not about that.”

“Show me an astro that’s not a total asshole, and I’ll show you an astro whose owner spends way too much time resetting it,” Goss said. “Had a pilot who’d reformat the thing every time it needed a recharge. It had zero personality, never had a chance to develop one– just, back to straight out of the box programming every week or two.”

“That’s awful,” Poe said, sincerely horrified; he had to set down the lens assembly to recover for a moment. There was nothing more uncanny and unpleasant than a brand-new astromech.

“Right?” Goss shook his head. “The thing was so dumb, too, I mean, it had no chance for the learning AI to ever learn anything. Worst part, though?”

“There’s a part that’s worse?” Poe asked.

“Oh yeah,” Goss said. “Worst part is, it knew it. Reformats wipe it clean but that don’t mean it didn’t know that had happened. It fucking knew how dumb it was and that it wasn’t right. So it was all the fun and total lack of sense of humor of a brand-new AI, plus all the glitchy weirdness of an old poorly-maintained AI.”

“I might be sick,” Poe said, and he was kidding, but he actually felt a little queasy. “That’s– isn’t there a law against that?”

“There’s no laws for shit,” Goss said. “I have no idea what happened to that thing, but it don’t half keep me up sometimes at night. It used to cry when its battery got low because it knew what was coming. What a horrorshow. I didn’t know droids could cry. Talk about nightmare fuel.”

“No kidding,” Poe said. He swallowed hard, and picked the lens assembly back up, and finished fitting it back together. He’d used the compressor to get all the sand out of the socket for the lens assembly, then swabbed it out with solvent; now he rubbed it with the cleaning rag before fitting the lens assembly back into it.

“I might have a set of weathersealing gaskets,” Goss said. “If you wanted to replace those instead of cleaning ‘em out all the time.”

“Really?” Poe looked hopeful. “I mean, I thought these were still good, but then ey had condensation inside the lens this morning, and I dunno, I found a lot of grit in there.”

Goss bent in and looked at the gasket. “I mean,” he said, “if it was anything else, I’d say it’s fine, but you cause more damage taking it apart and everything, so if it was bad before it’ll be worse now. For something this sensitive, I’d just replace the gasket. They’re cheap enough. Hang on, I’ll be right back.”

“That’d be so sweet,” Poe said. He pulled the lens assembly back out, and set it carefully down on the dropcloth. To stay busy, he used the compressor to clean out the vent filters in the body seam, they always got dusty.

“Here we go,” Goss said, coming back in with a little box. “I don’t got the custom ones, gotta cut ‘em to size, but you got small fingers, you can probably do it without special tools.”

Shozers only had three fingers, big ones, on each forelimb, and Poe hadn’t really thought about that. “Oh yeah,” he said, “I’ve done it before.”

“You can see why it ain’t my specialty,” Goss said.

“Yeah,” Poe said. He peeled out the old weatherstripping, and sure enough, now he could see where there were cracks in it. Goss held a headlamp to give him more focused light so he could cut the new stuff exactly– the box had a good cutting surface in it, and then Goss helped him with the adhesive to get it to the right consistency. It took about fifteen minutes, but Poe had just spent an hour on the cleaning, so it was a pretty small investment of time, all told.

“That’ll hold better,” Goss said. “Should do you a couple months at least.”

“I think the last time it got replaced was almost a year ago,” Poe said. “I don’t like letting it go that long but.” He made a face. “Fleet requisitions are sometimes a little tricky.”

“You mean you hadn’t sucked up enough to the mechanics,” Goss said.

Poe nodded. “Believe me,” he said, “I know about sucking up to the mechanics. But I ah. I married a fabrication engineer, and that made things– well, you know, just complicated.”

“Oh,” Goss said, “I didn’t know you– oh– uhh.” He was trying to sound polite, but Poe recognized the distinctive sound of someone mid-sentence realizing they’d just flailed themselves into a brick wall of awkwardness. Because yeah. Poe had just defected, and he’d come here alone, and clearly Goss knew that, everyone knew that.

“We got divorced,” Poe said, “like, a year ago, it’s okay. She’s very much a Republic loyalist, it wasn’t going to work out.”

“Sorry,” Goss said.

“I am too,” Poe said. “So you can imagine, like, on top of the personal shit, that just made it real awkward to bother the mechanics about anything.”

“Yeah,” Goss said.

The rest of BB-8’s reassembly, Poe knew like the back of his hand; he tended to give BB-8 a good cleaning once or twice a month, on average, more when it was muddy, and this stuff was easy. Just a big brush, and a couple of screws, and about half an hour of work, and BB-8 was always so pleased upon reboot. Ey had a little just-been-cleaned dance ey always did, and it was one of Poe’s purest delights in this world.

“You wanna see something great?” he asked.

“Sure,” Goss said.

“Lemme just boot em up,” Poe said. “BB-8 loves a cleaning, it’s like, eir favorite thing. Then watch what ey does.”

He fitted the last bit of plating, tightened the screw down until the cover flipped easily over it, and then toggled the reboot switch. BB-8 spun up immediately, eir sensors blinking to awareness, and recognized Poe with a happy little trill.

“Cleaned?” BB-8 asked.

“All clean,” Poe said, grinning at him.

“Whee!” BB-8 said, and did eir dance, spinning in place and then completing a full revolution of the lower sphere, with an abrupt stop and reversal at the end, bringing em straight back to the spot where ey’d started, right next to Poe. “Yay!”

“Aw that’s adorable,” Goss said.

“I told you,” Poe said.

BB-8 noticed Goss, and rolled a little closer to Poe, trilling a wordless little sound of embarrassment. “Hi,” Goss said.

“That’s Goss,” Poe said, “he’s a mechanic here. He helped me replace your weatherproofing seal, your lens won’t fog up anymore!”

“Thanks!” BB-8 said, rolling a little in place. Ey was definitely doing eir best “cute” act. Poe leaned in and kissed the plating just behind eir sensor, where nothing would get smudged.

“That’s my little beep,” Poe said, indulgent like a proud parent. “Pretending like ey has manners, and all.”

“I mean,” Goss said, “for an astromech, that’s very mannerly. You’re welcome, BB-8.”

BB pretended to be shy and burrowed further into Poe’s arms.
this is part of the bit I’ve had to throw out. it might get recycled but for now, as i set it aside, I just wanted to share these two tiny snippets. 

“This thing is really, really, a hunk of garbage,” Poe said, looking around in a state of unimpressedness so profound he was hanging onto the copilot’s chair for dear life.

“I know,” Rey said. “It should be fun. It always adds a certain element of spice to a journey if you’re never sure whether you’ll be abruptly exposed to hard vacuum at any particular point.”

“Hard vacuum is my favorite kind,” Poe said.


“I can fly anything,” Poe said, looking around the interior of the ship, “but that’s the kind of thing a man says to himself about cool shit, and never really examines when it comes to the actual hunks of junk that apparently still operate in this galaxy.”

“Don’t think I’m not still jealous that you got to fly a TIE fighter,” Rey said.

“Straight into the ground,” Poe said, giving her a jaunty finger-gun gesture, “and don’t you forget it.”

“We have upgraded our collective databanks with additional information but it remains unclear,” BB-8 said, and projected a little hologram of–

“BB!” Poe said. “Where did you guys get porn?” This was what came of leaving the astromechs unattended together overnight in the hangar every night.

“Where didn’t they get it,” Pava said, tilting her head to get a better view of the hologram.

“Stop that,” Poe said, peering out from between his fingers, “that’s in poor taste. You can’t get real information from porn, it’s fictional, we’ve been over fiction, I know you know what it is.”

“Fictional,” BB-8 said, astonished. “This is fictional?” Ey sounded indignant, like perhaps ey felt ey’d been lied to.

“Nobody really fucks like that,” Poe said. 

“I wouldn’t know,” BB said a little accusingly, “you never let me watch and anyway, you never do it, which is the entire point of this discussion. Clearly humans would not be so obsessed with this thing if it was not necessary?”

Poe grimaced. “Could you turn that off please?”

“Ew,” Pava said, turning her head the other way as the view shifted.

BB-8 finally turned the holo off. “Necessary,” ey insisted.

“No,” Poe said, “it’s really not. Some people don’t even like it at all.”

“You do though!” BB-8 insisted.

Poe looked over at Pava for support. “Do you let your astromech watch you fuck?” he asked. “I feel like that would be really inappropriate, but is that hopelessly old-fashioned of me?”

“I do not let my astromech watch me fuck,” Pava agreed. “That is not old-fashioned, that is just having healthy personal boundaries. But BB’s right, if you’re a person who likes sex, it’s good to have it.”

“I am never going to hear the end of this,” Poe realized, looking at the curling corner of Pava’s mouth.

“Nope,” she said, popping the P, and got up.

“Jacket Thief would likely let you put your extensions in his ports,” BB-8 said to Poe, very earnest now.

“I don’t know who that is but it sounds like a great idea,” Pava said.

BB-8 refused to use any other name besides Jacket Thief for Finn. Poe covered his eyes with his hand again. “I do not think Jacket Thief wants my extensions in his ports.”

“Everyone wants your extensions in their ports,” Pava said. “That’s like. A universal truth of the Resistance. Everyone wants Poe Dameron to put his extensions in their ports.”

“I am never going to hear the end of this,” Poe said, haunted.

“Nope!” Pava said cheerfully, and walked away.

From the WIP. Currently standing at 47k. More thoughts next post. 
I was tagged by @popkin16 in that WIP meme. What is it? Go to your current WIP and go to page 7 and go down 7 lines and copy over 7 sentences or so? Then it wants you to tag people which is how these continue but I have no idea how to know which of the people I follow are actually into this sort of thing, which is unsurprising given that Tumblr doesn’t actually really allow you to interact with your dashboard except by copying it? so uh? anyway? 

If you read these entries and you write, and you have a WIP, I am serious, consider yourself tagged if that is relevant to your situation. Because I don’t know how else to figure out how to tag someone.

But! Anyway, less crankily: This is my Sooper Seekrit project  (WITH ART!) with @artgroves that has like eaten my brain, and that y’all got the first peek at yesterday, and I’m only doing this because the page in question is hilarious for this. (And on GDocs there are pages; on Scrivener, there aren’t.)

You get ten sentences.

Finn had known there was a New Republican Academy and that most of the soldiers in the Fleet had been trained there, but he had sort of absent-mindedly assumed it was much like the various facilities that had trained him, and it was really startling to sift through the information holopacket the General had almost absent-mindedly dropped in front of him.

Recruitment materials, course curricula, write-ups in media, and so on were fine and dandy; Finn picked up that people didn’t go to these Academies until they were nearly grown, and still maintained contact with their families, and still had a lot of individual freedom. But the real treasure was when he flipped to a folder full of candid holos labeled “student life”, and it was just all short holovids and still holopics that students had mostly taken of one another.

The General was in the room, having a desultory discussion with various other officers whose names and faces Finn had already memorized, and going through briefing materials of her own, when he found it. There had been a number of holopics of students who were clearly off-duty and intoxicated, obviously celebrating; Finn gathered that this was condoned behavior, and facilitated the development of lifelong social bonds these soldiers would rely on in the future through their careers (some of that rationale was hinted at in the written materials, while some, Finn had had to infer). This holopic was of a young student, male, shirtless, on a table with a bottle– and it took Finn a long moment of admiring the student’s slender, arching torso, curving red mouth wrapped appealingly around the bottle’s neck, and dark, promising eyes before he recognized it.

“Holy shit,” he said, startled into speaking out loud.

The General laughed immediately, turning. “I was waiting for you to find that,” she said. 

Yes, it’s the same pic that I described of Poe from the video thing yesterday, hush. Yes yes I know, I’m being elliptical and telling the same bit of story over and over, but I just have this fascination with the role of media in storytelling and like, it’s a problem. I know.

Also I clearly have a hankering for that to be the illustration for the thing but I wouldn’t even begin to know where to find a reference image for it. (Thanks, though, Bucky, I was thinking of this picture when I wrote it.)
As with any organization, the Resistance found it necessary to produce training holovids on a variety of topics, from basic demonstrations of the use of important equipment to more nuanced vids on cultural or personnel issues. They were a small force, but tended to be somewhat geographically scattered by necessity, and it saved a lot of time to have a small collection of introductory holovids to show new recruits to get them quickly up to speed.

The most entertaining holovid, however, was widely held to be this one. 


The title music swells, epic and orchestral, over a black screen. Fade in: a photo, taken outdoors, head and shoulders, of Poe Dameron, squinting slightly into the sun, jaw set in determination. His hair is tousled and he is in a flight suit and leather jacket, ruggedly attractive.

Another flourish of music, and the title pops bright white text over a black screen:


Fade to footage of Poe Dameron, in a sleeveless tight undershirt smudged with grease and worn-thin trousers that fit very flatteringly behind, bending over to demonstrate how to use a new system of tie-downs to secure equipment such as small spacecraft in inclement weather. His hair is a little too long and falls across his forehead; he habitually shakes his head a little to keep it away from his eyes, in a charming gesture, and he frequently looks to the camera for guidance, which gives him an appealing, almost supplicant aspect, especially since he frequently smiles at the cameraman.

Voiceover (male, smooth, cultured, the same one who narrates most of the rest of the instructional holovids the Resistance produces): “It’s not a question of if, but when. It’s a natural part of joining the Resistance. Everyone says, oh, it won’t happen to me, I’m immune to that sort of thing. But everyone in the Resistance eventually ends up with a crush on Poe Dameron.”

Cut to head-and-shoulders shot of a middle-aged mechanic, female, in work attire, clearly in a spacecraft hangar, holding a wrench in one hand. There’s a label at the bottom of the screen: Yana, Mechanic. Below that it says, He Remembers Her Name. “You may think you’re immune to his looks,” she says, “but then he remembers your name after only having met you once, and claps you on the shoulder, and calls you ‘buddy’ and smiles at you.” She sighed. “And it only gets worse from there.”

Quick cut to a shot, zoomed in from a distance, of Poe Dameron standing on the ladder to the cockpit of his X-Wing. It is a video; he is watching someone offscreen do something, the wind gently ruffling his tousled hair and his helmet under one arm. His mouth is slightly open; after a moment he licks his lower lip, then grins, like he’s about to speak.

Meanwhile, voiceover:

“Don’t be alarmed. These are natural feelings. Take comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone. And you can console yourself in the knowledge that he has this effect on everyone.”

Cut to head and shoulders shot of a young pilot, female, dark-haired; she is attractively dressed and made-up, but wearing her flight suit. The label at the bottom of the screen says Jessika Pava, Pilot, and is subtitled, He Has Saved Her Life About 100 Times. “It’s not his fault,” she says. “That’s the thing you have to keep in mind. He’s really like that. He’s really actually nice to people. He’s completely sincere.”

A still shot fills the screen: Poe Dameron, very young, aged perhaps sixteen or seventeen. He is standing on a table, possibly dancing, shirtless, wearing New Republic Academy uniform trousers and suspenders. The suspenders are slipping down his shoulders, and he has his head tipped back and is provocatively mock-fellating a bottle clearly labeled “Corellian Death Rum” while staring seductively into the camera. He is clearly intoxicated.

Meanwhile, voiceover:

“Methods of coping with this affliction vary by individual. Some people pretend they don’t feel it. Others give themselves over to it. A few daring individuals have tried to actually go for it. But it seems that despite a wild youth, Poe has settled into a reasonably responsible adulthood. It is not recommended that you pursue him aggressively.”

Cut, footage of a very attractive blonde woman in her early thirties, in a New Republican Starfleet uniform. She is labeled Garella Unaeron, and subtitled Shared Single, Memorable Wild Night Of Passion. “I just broke into his quarters and got naked and lay in his bed until he showed up,” she says, looking smug. “It went well for me, but I mean, we were also like eighteen. So. I don’t imagine that’d go as well now he’s defected to the Resistance.” She tosses her hair, clearly taking a moment to remember. “But I mean, if you go for it,” she went on, “much as I loathe his politics, I gotta say, he’s really great in the sack. I don’t imagine he’s lost the knack, it’s not the kind of thing you get worse at with practice.” Suddenly her expression changes, twisting into suspicion. “Wait, who did you say you were again?” The camera jerks and the footage ends abruptly.

The next shot is a craggily-handsome man in his late thirties, with a scar down one cheekbone that speaks of a life of action. He is labeled Naeher Adamant, and subtitled Had Actual Grown-Up Sexual Relationship. “A gentleman never kisses and tells,” he says, unsmiling, but he looks pleased nonetheless, or perhaps fond. “I can tell you, though, that Dameron is never other than entirely genuine. There’s no need to play games.”

Another cut, another interview subject, head and shoulders of a shiny-polished droid. Titled CR-31T, Mechanic, and subtitled He Is Really That Nice All The Time. “I’ve never worked with any other human who went so out of his way to make sure I understood that he considered me a person, on par with a biological organism,” the droid said, a little shyly. “It’s not— I don’t mind, you know, I know what I am, but he’s just— he’s so nice.”

Cut to footage of Poe Dameron, dressed in his flight suit, clearly training footage of some kind as he is watching someone offscreen and gesturing a little hesitantly to parts of his gear, as if in demonstration. He is apparently a little bored with making training videos, however, and is making amusing faces at the offscreen person, exaggerated expressions of wide-eyed wonder and grimacing trepidation.

Meanwhile, voiceover:

“So when you find yourself suffused with inappropriate feelings for this particular individual, just remember, you’re not alone. Speak to your counselor about what coping method is best for you. And above all, don’t make it weird: we’re relying on him, and his possibly-unholy combination of dashing charm and uncanny good luck. Try to use your misplaced erotic energy wisely.”

The music swells again, and the scene cuts to another video of Poe, zoomed in on him from quite a distance; he is outdoors, watching something at a distance with a vacant half-smile. The wind, again, ruffles his hair slightly, attractively, and he laughs silently, eyes crinkling up fetchingly. The title rolls up the screen again:


As the scene fades to black, the title is the last thing visible, then winks out as well.



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